When asked a question, our most erudite president. JFK, would reply, in his Massachusetts accent, “Let me say this about that.” So, when I’m out on a river cruise and folks ask me a question, I always preface by saying “Let me say this about that,” in my most Southern drawl, hoping they might think I am erudite, but of course they soon learn I am not.
The other night our friends, Wood Duck and his bride. came over for dinner. Now, Wood Duck is one of the most erudite gentlemen I have ever known, particularly after a certain time in the evening. He has made his living in the Apalachicola River swamp, never having had a job. He retrieves the old logs from the swamp that sank when they were logging thousand-year-old cypress trees in the late 1800s. He pulls the logs out of the river, takes them to his sawmill, saws them up, sells the lumber and then makes these beautiful Adirondack chairs. (We have eight of them.)
He told me he pulled a log that was 1,200 years old; he said he counted the rings. Now, Wood Duck drinks beer, so I asked, “Wood Duck, how many beers did you drink to count 1,200 rings?”
He said,” Well, I got a bunch of pins and every time I counted a hundred rings I stuck a pin in the log in case I got drunk and forgot my place.”
He built their home out of this cypress. When I say, he built it, he did almost by himself, he can do most anything. It’s not in a wet area but it’s kinda high off the ground so I said, “Wood Duck, why did you build your house so high off the ground?”
He replied, “I wanted it to be where if I had a plumbing problem I could sit in a lawn chair and fix it.” See, I told you he was smart.
So, the other night Wood Duck started talking about the things that are most concerning to us, like the price of fuel for our charters. He said he had visited clients of his in Georgia who farm some 8,000 acres who are so concerned about the price of fertilizer, chemicals, pesticides, etc., that they might not even plant a crop this year only to suffer massive losses. Are we in for food shortages, famine even?
Some time ago I wrote an article about Will Harris and his White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. In 1995, he made a drastic decision, in part due to the writings of Wendell Berry. He decided to eschew industrial agriculture and abandon the use of all chemicals and fertilizers from his operation, now very successful. It occurred to me that he does not have to worry about these prices. Does that tell us anything?
The Buddy Ward family brings the fruits of the sea to our shores without the abominable practices used by the imported shrimp from foreign shores. (Grown in cesspools.)
Lane has a box in Apalachicola’s Community Garden where growers use all organic methods. During wartime, they were called “Victory Gardens.” During World War II, 40 percent of our produce was grown in these gardens.
I once wrote an article about the Garden of Eden being in our Apalachicola River Valley. Maybe it’s true.
Could we be experiencing a wakeup call?
I hope my articles are apolitical and non-denominational, so this is unusual for me. Now that I have said that about this, if I have or have overstepped my bounds, I assure you, dear readers,
I will remain,
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